Saturday, December 28, 2013

Trout Fishing 2013

Trout Fishing 2013

There are few things more manly than fishing.  Especially in the cold.  Walt and I went on an awesome trip to Utah last April (?) and fished three different spots.  Walt is good company because he understands that fishing is a way to get away from everything else and everyone else.  Conversation doesn't need to happen, but if it does, great.  When I was young fishing was so boring, all you did was sit and, well, fish.  Now I relish the opportunity to check out and get lost staring at the sun on the water and feel all-powerful as I bring in a nice fish!

Steinaker Reservoir

We caught our limit on day 1 at Steinaker and at the end of our trip when we went back.  It was pretty nice out, the sun was shining...mostly.  There was a giant sheet of ice left on the lake, you can see it in the photos.  As the wind changed directions, the ice would shift directions and ram the shoreline.  There were huge piles of ice on each protruding bit of shoreline.  

Walt kept catching the biggest fish.

We found a nice place to sit where there were some comfy rocks.  Yes, rocks are comfy to geologists.  And Walt is a geologist too.

Red Fleet Reservoir

Red fleet is like a mini Lake Powell.  It has Navajo Sandstone everywhere, which is heaven to me!  It makes for some awesome scenery too.  We caught quite a few fish there, but they seemed to be smaller than the ones at Steinaker.  The cool thing about that ice sheet (which was at Red Fleet too) was that the fish were hungry and seemed to be waiting at the edge of the ice for our lures to drop.  There were also a few critters wandering about.

Walt is the critter.

We cooked up the fish on the spot at Red Fleet.

Hungry?  Why wait?  Gollom doesn't.

There is nothing quite like freshly caught and cooked trout.

Flaming Gorge Dam

We also did some night fishing at the bottom of the Flaming Gorge Dam.  I suppose we should have tried the actual gorge...we got skunked.  But it was ridiculously peaceful and relaxing.  There was almost no conversation down there.  Just reverence.  

Nice double chin!

So where do you clean all those fish you catch while so far away without a fish cleaning station and when you don't want to be cold anymore and when you just want to be able to rinse them standing up and where the water temperature is exactly what you want it to be and where you can shave at the same time with a fillet knife which is also very manly...

If you don't like fishing, just wait until you like sitting.  If you don't like sitting and fishing, then go fishing and sitting with Walt and you will begin to like fishing and sitting.  Thanks Walt!  

Where to in 2014?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cliff Jumping in the Ozarks


Why do boys and men need to do things that are dangerous, potentially life threatening, financially unwise, and certainly painful?  Because it is manly.  Cliff jumping is a perfect example.  It is hard to explain the way it feels to someone who has not jumped before.  It's like riding a roller coaster with no seat belt.  Peer pressure is the only reason 3/4th's (or more) of those who jump do so.  The lack of control after jumping can be somewhat liberating...the windmill arms tucked just in time to avoid bruises, the uncontrolled cursing, the fact that the whole world disappears as you focus on not dying, and the final inclusion in the group of elite jumpers who also made the leap.  

Current River

The Ozarks is full of rivers carving away at the bluffs.  The crystal clear, frigid spring water allows you to see the rocks that could break your limbs, ...usually.  The Current River is a prime example of a place chock full of death defying cliff jumping experiences for my family and friends.  Numerous canoe trips transported us to the limestone walls up to 40 ft. high.  Here are a few pictures from that memory-filled country.

It is hard to tell who is who in this picture.  I can pick out Joe and Mark at the top.  That may be me jumping.  That looks like Chris in the water looking on.  Climbing up to this cliff was not too enjoyable.  It was quite the scramble and left our backs, arms, and legs scratched up.  This was a youth trip (what were our leaders thinking allowing this!...glad they did!).

This was from a trip with Mark, Darin, and Billy.  It is a nice panorama of a three-way simultaneous jump.  Left to right: Billy, Me, and Mark.  Darin shooting the photo.

Joe watches as John jumps from this extremely scary cliff.  It might be a whole 20 ft.  John and his life jacket, inseparable.

Mark often looks like an alien life-form landing on the planet when he jumps.  This is Bee Bluff.

There I am, proof that I did the jump.  Bee bluff is a scary jump because the platform is an overhang.  I am pretty sure that it hurt every time I jumped off this cliff.

A view from the top of Bee Bluff.  Mark taking the shot, Me and  Darin in the canoe.

Mark jumping off Bee Bluff.  If anyone thinks jumping is not scary, they either dive professionally or are insane.  Notice the muscles in Mark's body.  Every single one is flexed and ready for impact.  Also, notice the shape his arms are in and then look at the following picture.  These two photos were taken at the same moment, accidentally.  Darin shooting from below and me from the top.  You can see us both in the shots with our cameras to our eyes.  I am not sure what Billy is doing.

I don't recommend diving.  It hurts.

The path to an obscure cliff.  Sometimes it was a lot of work to get there!

Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake is another prime cliff jumping location.  As kids we used to go to this lake and stay at our grandparents cabin.  They had a pontoon boat that we would tool around the lake in.  We never knew there were such wonderful cliffs over by the dam until a youth trip much later in life.  After the discovery, we took Darin and Billy to the spot and jumped.  Here we are at the top.  Notice the ledge under the water.  It would stink if you hit that! 

Back to front: Billy, Me, Mark.

Darin and Mark.

Johnson Shut-Ins

Tucked away in southeast Missouri is this awesome little park.  It is known for its naturally shaped bathtub impressions in the rock of the stream bed.  You can lounge around in them all day.  Further down the stream is a magnificent cliff.  Perched atop this cliff is a sign that warns jumpers to cease and desist.  These next few pictures tell a story...

Notice from left-to-right Me, Joe, and James.  Scoffing at the warning.  Who would listen to a silly sign like that?

Now we see James in the air as Joe and I look at his flailing body and plugged nose.

Sometime after that, James has pulled himself from the water and you see me swimming from the approximate location where I landed after him.  Joe still perched atop the cliff...

No cliff jumping for Joe!  Out of the trees appears (not a bear, coyote, or rabid dog) a rabid park ranger with a flip book full of tickets!  Hence the financially unwise statement from the beginning of this post.
Lake Stockton

No article about cliff jumping would be complete without a piece dedicated to Lake Stockton.  The lake is man made and part of it is a flooded limestone quarry.  Cliffs extend almost 360 degrees.  It is cliff jumping heaven.  They go from a few feet tall to 40+ ft. depending on the water level of the lake.  Apart from the occasional submerged tree branch that wants to drag you under, or the large boulder left at the bottom of the quarry that wants to break your leg, or the poisonous water snake curled up on the exact rock you MUST use to get out of the lake, it is perfectly safe. (Side note: I took April here and kissed her beneath the trees at the cliff edge, ahem, moving right along...)

That is the highest point.  This spot is really freaky because the spot you jump from slants down toward the water.  You feel insecure before you even contemplate jumping from this spot!

Mark (left) and Joe (right).

Joe's head (left) and Darin's head (right).  Notice the lack of places to climb out.  If you are asking, the answer is yes, we did jump before finding a way out.  We were not known for our ability to plan ahead in these situations.

Well, I don't necessarily suggest that you go out and find a cliff to jump off of, nor do I recommend the opposite.  Each person must decide if they want to be a part of the fraternity of brave, manly, stupid, cliff jumpers.  Now that I am 30 years old, I think I'll become an emeritus member though.  My old limbs will not take too much of a beating anymore...then again I am going to the Current River soon.  

No telling what might happen!